The things you've done with your partner, especially when it comes to physical affection and sex, aren't measures of how "good" your relationship is. At this stage, the most important thing is how you and your partner feel. If you both enjoy each others' company, you're affectionate, and you have open, caring attitudes towards each other, you're doing fine.
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Keep in mind that not everyone will agree with this. Some people have different priorities for their relationships. It's OK to disagree with these people. If you're happy with your relationship, so you don't need to let them pressure you into things you're not comfortable with. On the other hand, they're not automatically shallow just because they want different things than you, so try to stay respectful.
Set physical boundaries early on. Be clear and explicit about what you are and aren't comfortable with.
It can be a big turn-off if your physical limits come as a surprise to your partner in the "heat of the moment," so take the opportunity to be up-front before you start getting affectionate. If your partner won't listen to repeated warnings, it's time to have a serious discussion about respecting your boundaries.
Keep the end goal in mind.
It's a good idea to have an idea of where you want your relationship to be eventually, even if you're not there yet. You can gradually work towards this goal, making week-by-week progress as you take small steps toward it.
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If you don't have an end in mind for your relationship, it can be harder to justify your slow pace to a partner. If you are a teen or pre-teen, having an end goal of "spending lots of time being affectionate with each other" is fine. There's no need to worry about "the L word" or marriage for a long time. If you're older, it's wise to know whether you plan to end up married, cohabiting, having children, and so on. This makes it easier to find a partner who's right for you and get rid of ones who aren't.
Plus, most adults who are willing to wait a long time to become physically intimate are interested in marriage or life-long relationships.
How to Take a Relationship Slowly
Enjoy affectionate outings at your own pace. Just because you're taking things slow doesn't mean you can't have fun. Take time to go out, explore the world, and treat each other to small luxuries. In other words, date! There's no "right" way to do this. Whatever you and your partner enjoy doing together is fair game. The good news is that there are many, many things to do that don't involve physical intimacy. Enjoy traditional dates like dinner and a movie or get creative with dates like rock climbing.
Always talk before taking things to the next level. Communication is vital to any relationship, but it's even more important when you're taking it slow. You and your partner need to be able to clearly and respectfully discuss the boundaries of the relationship.
In other words, you need to be able to have calm discussions about what you're comfortable doing and what you're not comfortable doing. When there are disagreements about this crucial topic, you and your partner need to be able to listen to each others' concerns. When it's possible to compromise on a disagreement, try to do so. However, when it's not possible to compromise without taking the relationship to a level you're uncomfortable with, don't be afraid to stand your ground.
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How to Take a Relationship Slowly | Dating Tips
Taking a relationship slow may seem "old-fashioned" to some, but this isn't an excuse to have old-fashioned ideas about controlling your partner's behavior. Don't try to restrict your partner's time with friends, family, or other people who are important to him or her. Remember that respect is a two-way street. Don't obsess over the tempo of your relationship.
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Maybe this time I want to know all the layers of you, before allowing you to come into my life. I want to take things slow with you: I want to speak with our mouths and not tongues, and with words, not kisses. I want the privilege of knowing you, the real you. I want to be careful this time, taking slow steps, learning as much as I can before jumping in headfirst.
I want to shut off my mind for a moment, control my heart and hold it back. So please, take things slow with me. Be patient with my heart. Let me in piece by piece, day by day, moment by moment.
How to Take a Relationship Slow (And Why You Should)
And if you're feeling needy, Manson recommends identifying the reasons behind your behavior and learning to build up your own confidence. Effective communication is vital to a strong, long-term relationship, and it's important that you and your partner are actively talking about your long-term goals and desires. Communicating proficiently will inadvertently help you both to take things slowly. Before making any big decisions, like moving in together, check in with each other about how you both honestly think the relationship is going.
Talking openly can give you the information you need to accurately gauge your partner's level of commitment to you as well as your compatibility in life. It can be tempting to want to spend all of your time with a partner you're crazy about, but be sure to make time for yourself, counsel the dating experts at Dating With Dignity, a website created by certified life coach Marni Battista and focused on helping women build confidence and find love. Taking a few days to yourself in between dates will not only help you maintain a healthy balance between your partner and your other commitments, but it'll give you space to consider the person and the relationship.
One danger of spending too much time together is overlooking worrying behaviors, and getting some regular "Me Time" can keep things in perspective. A New York native, Carrie Stemke is an avid writer, editor and traveler whose work has covered many different topics. She has had a lifelong fascination with and love of psychology, and hold's a bachelor's degree in the subject. Her psychology research articles have been published in Personality and Individual Differences and in Modern Psychological Studies.
Group dates are an opportunity for your friends to form a realistic opinion of your partner.